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Chesterfield County Public Schools

World Languages Status Report

Abridged Version

Prepared by

Linda L. Szwabowski

Instructional Specialist for World Languages

August 2009
Table of Contents

Introduction p.3

Elementary World Language Program pp. 4-5

Middle School Program pp. 6-7

Curriculum Revisions: The Role of Standards and Research p. 8

Professional Development: The Role of Standards and Research p. 9


This document contains highlights from a 33 page report that was part of a

presentation to the Chesterfield County Public Schools (CCPS) School Board in May

2009. The original report included nineteen tables and one figure with a number of

pie charts. The figure and tables illustrated the projected change in enrollment for

the 2009-2010 school year.

The May report gave an overview of the elementary, middle and high school

programs, the professional development opportunities afforded CCPS world

language teachers and the rationale for curriculum revisions. A large percentage of

the report shared the negative effect that the budget cuts were having on the middle

school program in particular. The presentation also included a 5 minute video I

created to showcase the CCPS elementary world languages program.

The parts of the report which have been included in this document demonstrate key

elements of the VCU/CCPS doctoral cohort’s curriculum that have been applied to

my work. Sections of highlighted text draw attention to points which directly support

the philosophy of action research espoused by this program.

Elementary World Language Program

More than 9,000 CCPS students in 13 elementary schools receive world
language instruction each week. Elementary students receive 45 minutes of
content-integrated instruction per week, or about 3 hours of instruction per
month. The 45 minutes may be delivered in one 45 minutes session or may be
divided into smaller segments, sharing resource time with another discipline as
best fits each school’s scheduling needs.

The content integration is based on the SOL for math, science and social studies.
By tying language acquisition to information from other content areas, the brain
benefits doubly. The students practice the skill of the core content area while
using the “hook” of the content area to acquire a second language.
Students are assessed on demonstrated understanding of the target language,
not the content integration. The CCPS elementary world languages model is
inclusionary; all students participate in the resource class.

The CCPS elementary world languages framework was adapted from Fairfax
County Public Schools. It models current research on language acquisition, best
practices and research on learning and the brain. The next two tables illustrate
the current and projected numbers of CCPS elementary students who are
learning a second language.

Table 1.

Elementary Enrollment Data Disaggregated by Language

K 1 2 3 4 5 Total
O.B. Gates 126 137 154 135 138 136 826
Watkins 172 165 163 128 119 134 881
Evergreen 0 169 0 0 0 0 0
Chinese Total 298 471 317 263 257 270 1876

Robious 119 99 104 115 118 120 674

Alberta Smith 117 137 121 122 133 117 747
Bellwood 93 67 81 77 70 66 454
Grange Hall 124 119 128 125 128 139 763
Harrowgate 59 83 87 77 80 72 458
M. Christian 125 111 101 130 138 152 757
Salem Church 106 103 84 113 113 106 625
E. Scott 129 142 120 121 112 115 739
Weaver 139 127 166 155 160 129 876
Wells 114 113 109 127 106 139 708
Winterpock 84 85 115 146 144 176 750
Total Spanish 1090 1087 1112 1193 1184 1211 6877

Total enrollment for all languages: 9428

Middle School Program

Four nearly four decades, CCPS has offered world language study at the middle
school level. Every middle school in Chesterfield offers at least one language.
Matoaca, Manchester and Midlothian offer four. Enrollment in middle school world
language programs is projected to be greatly decreased next year. The most
frequently cited reason is budget cuts, although the challenge of making AYP is also
a concern. This holds true for all courses in which there is no SOL test.

Table 4.

World Language Enrollments ( current and projected) by Middle School

School Students enrolled in WL 08-09 Projected enrollment in WL

BBMS 470 267
Carver 307 167
Chester 272 108
E. Davis 291 174
FCMS 230 139
Mancheste 696 548

Matoaca 473 516
Midlothian 665 656
Providence 314 118
Robious 480 472
Salem Ch. 162 157
Swift 387 220

Tomahawk 515 392
Total: 5262 3934

Another way to look at the data is by comparing the total world language enrollment
of each school with the school’s population. The pie charts on the next several
pages compare the percent of students enrolled in a world language with the rest of
the school’s population. The data were compiled using the current and projected
Average Daily Membership and Starbase data as of May 20, 2009. This was done
for middle school only, as that is where the greatest drop in enrollment is projected.

Figure 1.

Percentage of each school enrolled in a world languages class

Data were collected from Starbase on May 20, 2009.

BBMS 2008-9 BBMS 2009-10

BBMS 2008-2099 Projected BBMS 2009-2010

267, 18%

307, 37%
not enrolled not enrolled
enrolled enrolled
524, 63%

1182, 82%

Carver Middle 2008-9 Carver Middle 2009-10

Carver 2008-2099 Projected Carver 2009-2010

167, 19%

307, 37%
not enrolled not enrolled
enrolled enrolled
524, 63%

695, 81%

Curriculum Revision: The Role of Standards and Research

In order to ensure that students will be successful as we work to make world
languages more accessible to all students, study skills and more opportunities for
practice are embedded in the curriculum revisions that our programs are
undergoing. The focus through 2009-2010 is on middle school course offerings
and level I of French, German, Latin and Spanish. Chinese and Japanese have
recently undergone curriculum development or revision. We continue to develop
thematic units in elementary.

The Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) for world languages are one of the
cornerstones for curriculum development and revision. The SOL, research on
brain-based learning and best practices in world languages are all being used as
a basis for K-12 curriculum development and revision. The world languages
program is an integral part of the Design for Excellence, particularly in the areas
of “Academic Excellence for All Students” and “21st Century Skills”. CCPS is
committed to increasing enrollment at all levels, and to providing opportunities for
all students to learn a second language in an articulated K-12 program. In order
to identify and remediate students at risk of falling through the cracks,
Performance Assessment Benchmarks following the SOL were created for all
levels I and II high school credit courses.

The first round of benchmarks was created in January of 2008. The first
performance assessment benchmarks created were for Quarter III, levels I and II.
They were created in January 2008.

Benchmarks were revised in summer 2008 using the data as one reference.
Additional benchmarks for the first quarter were added to the common
assessment bank at that time.

In addition to the Performance Assessment Benchmarks for levels one and two,
teams of CCPS teachers have created common semester and final exams for
nearly a decade. The common exams are for levels I-III for each language, with
the exception of Latin, which has common semester and final exams for levels I
and II.

Professional Development K-12

As CCPS continues to implement the Design for Excellence and provides
opportunities for longer and more articulated programs of world language study,
the emphasis has gone from world language for the academically élite to world
languages for all. The shift in focus has meant that teachers have needed to
acquire additional best practice strategies to ensure that all students are provided
the opportunity for success in the world languages classroom. There have been
fifty seven workshops specific to world languages since September 2006. Some
of these were presented more than once. These do not include in-services and
professional learning communities for department chairs. Workshop topics
included, but were not limited to:

• Thematic units

• TPRS (Total Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling)

• Interactive Notebooks

• Vocabulary and learning strategies.

All the workshops were presented with an eye toward the curriculum revision we
are undergoing. Over one hundred twenty CCPS world languages teachers have
participated in training for interactive notebooks thus far. More than fifty have
participated in the multi-day trainings on thematic units.

Department chair meetings have shifted from being informational to
developmental in nature. During the 2007-2008 school year, the professional
learning community (PLC) was on Project-Based Learning incorporating active
learning strategies. This year, department chairs examined active learning
strategies. Next year, we will focus on differentiated instruction.

The purpose of these workshops was to provide teachers the skills necessary to
address the needs of diverse learners in the classroom. The February and March
2009 in-services were products of the professional learning community in which
department chairs participated throughout the first semester. The sessions were
attended by elementary, middle and high school teachers.